What happens when you have insomnia? What are some of the ways to improve this disorder?

What is the definition of insomnia? Insomnia is defined as the difficulty of falling asleep or staying asleep repeatedly, which in turn causes the reduction of sleep time and a deterioration of sleep quality. According to diagnostic standard addressed in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a person diagnosed with insomnia suffers from sleep difficulty for at least 3 nights in a week and display symptoms such as fatigue, excessive napping, mood fluctuations, difficulty concentrating or physical discomfort, which in turn affects learning or work. For a person suffering from insomnia for less than a month, he/she is suffered from short-term insomnia. If the disorder persists for longer than one month, it is categorized as chronic insomnia. There are three types of insomnia: challenges falling asleep, inability to maintain sleep, and early-morning wakefulness.

Five Most Common Reasons for Insomnia
There are many reasons that causes insomnia, the most common ones include:

1.Psychological factors: overtly worrying, restlessness, overt excited, work anxiety, feeling depressed, excessive pressure and stress; some mental disorders also cause insomnia.
2.Lifestyle: Rotating shifts, smoking, drinking caffeinated or other stimulating beverages before going to sleep.
3.Environmental Factors: Noise, light, mosquito bites, hot weather in the environment can also affect sleep.
4.Physiological Factors: Polyuria, coughing, pain, or sleep apnea.
5.Changes in Biological Clock: Travel, jetlag

If you want to improve insomnia, foods with the following ingredients are recommended for consumption:

Selenium: A lack of selenium can cause abnormal sleep. Selenium is also the key element in the functions of the immune system and the thyroid gland. Foods containing selenium include Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, oysters, and cremini.

Tryptophan: Tryptophan is a precursor to the secretion of serotonin in the human body. Sources of tryptophan include turkey meat, eggs, sweet potato, chia seeds, banana, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B6: Assists with modulating the body’s response to stress, as well as aiding to relax the nervous system. Some of the best sources of Vitamin B6 include banana, sugar-free yogurt, cashew nuts, peanut butter, almonds, avocado, fish, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, seaweed, and eggs.

Vitamin C: Those with lower concentrations of Vitamin C will have more sleep problems, and will more likely wake up in the middle of the night. Excellent sources of Vitamin C include common foods such as sweet peppers, green leafy vegetables, kiwi fruits, strawberries, citrus fruits and papayas.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is significantly correlated with excessive napping during daytime. Bathing in natural sunlight can increase Vitamin D concentration. Some foods, such as swordfish, salmon, tuna, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms, and oysters can also replenish appropriate amounts.

Potassium: Potassium is helpful for those that have a hard time sleeping for an extended amount of time. Bananas are usually considered as the best source of potassium. However, there are better choices: green leafy vegetables, potatoes, broccoli, cremini, and avocado are all excellent potassium-containing foods.

Calcium: Research indicated that disruption of REM sleep (rapid eye movement) is associated with calcium deficiency. Excellent sources of calcium that is useful for the body include curly kale, collard greens, brown mustard, sardines, seaweed, and sesame seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids helps one to attain a better night’s sleep. Consumption of chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, halibut, salmon, flax seeds, or cold-pressed oils like flaxseed oil, fish oil, or krill oil can all increase omega-3 fatty acids intake.

Melatonin: Foods that can naturally increase the melatonin concentration in the body include pineapple, tomato, banana, oranges…etc.

To prevent insomnia or lower the probability of insomnia from occurring, experts have the following recommendations:

1.Go out under the sun for 30 minutes: Being under the sun can effectively adjust one’s biological clock.
2.Do not use any electronic products 30 minutes before going to sleep: The strong light from electronic products will directly enter your eyes, which decreases the secretion of melatonin, delaying sleep or lowers sleep quality. With that said, reading a book before sleep is completely fine, as the light emitted enters the eyes by reflecting off the book, so the intensity of the light is not as strong.
3.Prepare a simple sleep journal. If you have a lot on your mind that causes you unable to sleep, try writing them down. There are also specific rules to when writing them:
You have to write it, not type it or use speech input.
It is recommended to do so in the study room or in the living room, or at least do not write them while on the bed. This is to prevent you from associating the inability to sleep with the bed itself.
Only write for 15 minutes
When writing, just list them out, otherwise you might get increasingly more annoyed.
When 15 minutes is up, close the journal and put it in the drawer even if you did not finish writing. Doing so is to tell yourself to put down your worries.
4.Create a Sense of Ritual: Tell your body you will prepare for rest after completing a certain task. Experts pointed out that brushing your teeth, reading, or changing into pajamas before going to bed are all good methods.
5.Get up and walk around if you can’t sleep, don’t just stay on the bed.
6.Avoid conducting all work-related matters in the bedroom.
7.Avoid intense exercise before going to sleep.
8.Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages before going to sleep, such as coffee or tea.
9.Avoid eating or drinking water right before going to bed.